AIGA’s 50 Books | 50 Covers Competition Winners Revealed
New York, NY—Today, AIGA, the professional association for design, announced the results of the AIGA 50 Books | 50 Covers of 2021 competition. With 605 book and cover design entries from 29 countries, this year’s competition recognizes and showcases excellence in book design from around the world.
Since its inception in 1923 as the Fifty Books of the Year competition, this annual event highlights AIGA’s continued commitment to uplifting powerful and compelling design in a familiar format we know and love. As book jackets became more prevalent, the competition evolved with the field to acknowledge excellence in cover design. Beginning in 1995, the competition became known as 50 Books | 50 Covers.
“AIGA’s 50 Books | 50 Covers competition honors the best of book and cover designs, and I am delighted and honored to announce the winners for 2021. I hope everyone is inspired as I am by this year’s winners and the stories told by each book and each cover design,” said AIGA Executive Director, Bennie F. Johnson. “Books inspire us, they give us hope, they are a vehicle for knowledge, and they are vital to all we are as a society.”
Selections from this year’s jurors can be viewed in the Winners Gallery.
“In a challenging year that confronted an ongoing pandemic, the aftershocks of a global reckoning with systemic oppression, high profile international conflict, designer burnout, and economic woes, one wonders how a design competition focused on book and book covers has relevance. As a past judge for the 50 Books | 50 Covers competition, I had a sense of the meticulous, subtle, and nerdy conversations that can go on during such a competition,” said Silas Munro, AIGA 50 Books | 50 Covers Chair. “At the same time, books hold a kind of value, relevance, and grounding that we need in our current messy moment.
Munro continued, “In this year's competition, innovative book designs for topics ranging from designing and motherhood, African surf culture, stories of resistance, visual histories of Detroit, Black food traditions, and more all give our jury life, hope, and visible windows into new possible worlds. The covers and books we looked at had a diverse range of visual language and took aesthetic risks. Overall, the thoughtful consideration of material, typography, and image across themes of inspiring culture and social transformations through books and their design brought light into the dark of 2022.”
AIGA thanks this year’s panel of esteemed jurors: Silas Munro (Jury Chair), Laura Coombs, Brian Johnson, and Kimberly Varella.
The 2021 winning selections will become part of the AIGA collection at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Columbia University’s Butler Library in the city of New York.
Eligible entries for the 2021 competition were open to books published and used in the marketplace in 2021. Entries for 50 Books | 50 Covers of 2022 will open in December 2022 with a final entry deadline in February 2023.